Supporting The Bioeconomy Research and Development Act of 2020

Now more than ever, we see the importance of biology: from responding to public health crises to building more resilient supply chains, biology defines what is possible. That’s why we’re so excited to see the Senate take the time to consider biology in the bipartisan Bioeconomy Research and Development Act of 2020, which is set to be marked up by the Senate Commerce Committee on Wednesday, May 20th, 2020. Ginkgo enthusiastically supports this legislation, led by Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), Senator Ed Markey (D-MA), Senator Cory Gardner (R-CO) and Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL).

The legislation elevates the importance of a cohesive and coordinated national strategy to guide and expand the field of synthetic biology through the implementation of a National Engineering Biology Research and Development Initiative. This Initiative will facilitate coordination between many U.S. agencies, including DOE, DoD, NIH, NSF, NASA, FDA, USDA, and EPA, to expand synthetic biology research, increase bioeconomy workforce training, and encourage commercialization of biological innovations.

This Initiative will help meet a critical need for federal government action that I recently described in testimony to the Senate Commerce Subcommittee on Science. To ensure America continues to be a leader in synthetic biology, the U.S. government must strategically reinvest in its bioeconomy. The U.S. has done this before with semiconductors, space technology, and ARPANET.

Video from the Securing U.S. Leadership in the Bioeconomy Senate hearing. My testimony begins at 41:27
Synthetic biology will be the world’s next industrial revolution. As proven by the COVID-19 pandemic, our ability to quickly develop new medicines and vaccines using synthetic biology, as well as to manufacture a wide range of essential materials and products in a sustainable and resilient way will define the technology of the 21st century the way that digital technologies defined the 20th. It is essential that the federal government has a cohesive, thoughtful strategy and makes robust investments in research and development programs that underpin the advancement of synthetic biology. The field was born out of U.S. Federal government research investments, and by advancing this legislation, Congress can help ensure American innovators continue to lead in this space.

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